Cape Sizzles As European Buyer Secures Top Lot

'Exciting times' - Greg Bortz

The 14th renewal of the Cape Yearling Sale, powered by Tattersalls, and held on Thursday afternoon for the second year under the auspices of Cape Racing Sales, produced the ‘bigger and better’ promised in 2023 – and much more – with record results underscoring the sparkling renaissance of the industry down South.

The concept of an inner-city racehorse sale in one of the world’s most beautiful locations was a winner from inception, and has proven a hit with local and international buyers.

The association with the 258 year old Tattersalls, Europe’s leading bloodstock auctioneers, who sell over 10 000 horses every year, has also added impetus on the back of the reborn thoroughbred that is Cape Racing.

Cape Racing’s Justin Vermaak and Greg Bortz (Pic – Troy Finch)

Cape Racing Chairman Greg Bortz succinctly summed it up, suggesting that ‘money is not location specific’, and that the quality of the horse on offer, coupled with the timing of the sale in the height of the Cape season in Met week, contributed to the popularity.

“It was a super strong sale that was well attended, including by some great international buyers. The money will find the quality horses and with some new innovations in the pipeline, which will strengthen Cape Racing Sales even further, we can feel very excited about the future,” he told the Sporting Post.

While Cape Town sizzled in the summer heat, the temperatures were also soaring in the sales ring, with the 119 lots achieving an aggregate of R64 895 000 (up 44,77% on 2023), at an average of R545 336 (up 22,88% on 2023) and a median of R400 000, an increase of 33,33% on last year.

Topseller was Clair De Lune (#37) who was offered by Drakenstein as agent, and signed for by Jonathan Snaith for R3,2 million on behalf of new buyers, Swiss national Rolf Theiler, and his South African wife Gloria, who are associates of Drakenstein’s Gaynor Rupert, and hail from the world of showjumping.

Clair De Lune – the Trippi sales topper (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

The beautiful athlete is a full-sister to 2023 Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes winner Trip Of Fortune.

Leading sire was Varsfontein Stud’s champion Gimmethegreenlight, who recently celebrated his 60th individual stakes winner. The son of More Than Ready achieved an aggregate of R11 875 00 with his 13 lots achieving an average of R913 462.

Breeders of reigning SA Horse Of The Year Princess Calla, Maine Chance Farms was the leading vendor, their 14 flagbearers averaging R798 214 for an aggregate of R11 175 000.

While international regular supporters Fiona Carmichael and Amanda Skiffington were active, an interesting aspect of the sale is the age profile of the top three locally based purchasers, with Justin Vermaak the leading buyer on aggregate, his 16 purchases totalling R12 400 000 at an average of R775 000.

“We formed a few partnerships, one four-way between Greg Bortz, Mukund Gujadhur, Laurence Wernars and Rikesh Sewgoolam, and another three-way, through which we bought some lovely youngsters destined for a variety of trainers, including Brett Crawford, Justin Snaith, Adam and Michael Azzie, and Johan Janse van Vuuren. So the idea is that they will, depending on their precocity, start in the Cape and be aimed at the Cape Racing Sales Slipper on Met day,” said Vermaak, who added that he felt that the Hawwaam – Princess Victoria colt (#63) ‘was as good a physical specimen as one would find anywhere’.

“He will be trained by Johan Janse van Vuuren and was the standout horse of the sale for me. He comes from a great family, he is a brother to Princess Calla, and ticks all the boxes. I thought we bought a really great bunch of horses and it’s terrific to see the power of partnerships in action,” Vermaak told the Sporting Post.

Jonathan Snaith

Jono Snaith – a great sale (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Jonathan Snaith led the buyer averages, with his nine signings – including the topseller – costing R7 025 000, at an average of R780 556.

“With all the exciting changes at Cape Racing we are seeing new owners enter the sport, which hasn’t been the trend for many a year. These are hugely exciting times for racing indeed, and for breeders, who will reap the rewards,” he told the Sporting Post.

Leading international breeders Ridgemont, who were again in the top echelon of vendors at the sale,  paid R2 million for the smashing unnamed Gimmethegreenlight filly (#110) from the champion juvenile All Is Secret.

This is a classic South African family and the purchase is clearly a move to maintain the upgrade of their high-class and powerful broodmare band.

See all the results here.

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